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Richard

HOPEWELL JUNCTION, NEW YORK, United States | Member Since 2008

26
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 13 reviews
  • 92 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 18 purchased in 2014
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  • The Lost Gate: Mithermages, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Emily Janice Card
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4122)
    Performance
    (2943)
    Story
    (2963)

    Danny North knew from early childhood that his family was different - and that he was different from them. While his cousins were learning how to create the things that commoners called fairies, ghosts, golems, trolls, werewolves, and other such miracles that were the heritage of the North family, Danny worried that he would never show a talent, never form an "outself"....

    joshua says: "Card doing what he does best."
    "American Gods Meets Harry Potter"
    Overall

    This was an excellent book. While, as others have observed, the story is clearly not the same as either of American Gods or Harry Potter, it has a feel or atmosphere with the best elements of both. The themes in this book also have some commonality with both. In any event, in deference to Card, his story seems to have much earlier conceptual roots than either of the other two. I found this book to be every bit as enjoyable (so far) as Ender, although the genre is different in that this book is not Sci Fi.

    I appreciated the warning given by some of the other reviewers that this book does not complete the story. It is a beginning, and a great one at that. Still, it was good to listen to the book with that expectation in mind.

    Stefan Rudnicki and Emily Janice Card were exceptional narrators. Stefan Rudnicki did the Enders series books as well. Any story he reads almost automatically goes up a star in my mind. Emily Card also did some of the narration in Ender in Exile. I very much enjoyed listening to her performance, and after hearing her narrate this book, I will be looking for more material where she is a narrator.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Koban

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Stephen W. Bennett
    • Narrated By Patrick Freeman
    Overall
    (138)
    Performance
    (132)
    Story
    (132)

    We colonized 700 planets. Humankind enjoyed the benefits of expansion room and the end of wars. We even disbanded our military. Then the Krall found us. The Krall have used thousands of years of combat to select the genes of the strongest and fastest warriors. They are a species determined to dominate the entire galaxy, through destruction and annihilation of every opponent.

    Koban is an uninhabited high-gravity planet with impossibly fast savage animals, which employ organic superconducting nerves. This deadly world is where the Krall tested humans for war capability.

    Laura A Azevedo says: "Great Story, Poor Narration"
    "Well Developed Story Line, Well Developed World!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The author did an excellent job developing the characters, the story line and the world. While the story is generally military sci fi, it touches on social issues and bio ethics in a well interwoven and non preachy way.

    Many people have commented that the narration is generally flat with what emphasis there is in the wrong places. While I agree in many respects, I had a somewhat different take and I prefer to withhold or at least temper my judgement on the subject of performance. Thus the neutral rating.

    Patrick Freeman has a very good reading voice and at times, clearly demonstrates that he does indeed understand how to breath life into his reading. While many lines are delivered with an unusual cadence, others seem to be quite normal with emphasis in all of the right places. This made me wonder whether the unusual cadence in delivery was done purposely as an interpretive mechanism, perhaps visualizing the way the characters might actually speak in that time and place. While I guess I will never know unless the narrator or author decides to tell us, I decided to listen to the story as if that were case. Doing so made the unusual cadence much easier to listen to.

    This story has so many places to go in sequels that I am certain I will buy the next one (I am hoping that there is a "next one"). I very much enjoyed the insight the author provides into the though process of the Koban inhabitants (for reasons that will become obvious in the story, I would not use the word "animals"). The relationship between the humans and the rippers just begs for a follow up.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Steel World: Undying Mercenaries, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By B. V. Larson
    • Narrated By Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (861)
    Performance
    (815)
    Story
    (821)

    In the 20th century Earth sent probes, transmissions, and welcoming messages to the stars. Unfortunately, someone noticed. The Galactics arrived with their battle fleet in 2052. Rather than being exterminated under a barrage of hell-burners, Earth joined their vast Empire. Swearing allegiance to our distant alien overlords wasn't the only requirement for survival. We also had to have something of value to trade, something that neighboring planets would pay their hard-earned credits to buy. As most of the local worlds were too civilized to have a proper army, the only valuable service Earth could provide came in the form of soldiers....

    D says: "Classic Space Opera"
    "Wow ... What a ride!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you are a fan of the Star Force series this book is a must read (or listen). As good as Star Force was, this book will leave you with the impression that B. V. Larson was simply warming up for what was to come. B.V. Larson seems to have taken all of the experience he gained in writing the Star Force series to give us all a story with a good amount of intrigue, a fascinating premise and a truly likeable main character.

    This book is face paced and both the story line and the main character were well developed. Throughout the story I could not help but make comparisons with Nathen Lowell's Solar Clipper series. As in the Solar Clipper series, a young man (James McGill) finds his life disrupted by events outside of his control and heads into space to find himself. Of course, this is a B.V. Larson book and thus the book quickly moves into the realm of military science fiction.

    B Mark Boyett's reading of the story really brings the character's to life, although I could not help but make comparisons between some of the voices he uses in this book with those he used in Star Force. While there are some similarities in that respect, they take away nothing from the story and in fact I felt that the voices were well chosen.

    While this book was a complete story with a satisfying ending I was left with no doubt that there is more to come. Of course that fact that the title says "Book 1" is good clue :-) I can hardly wait for Book 2!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Defender: Kris Longknife, Book 11

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Mike Shepherd
    • Narrated By Dina Pearlman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (179)
    Performance
    (168)
    Story
    (165)

    Kris Longknife is back in the good graces of the brass - and to demonstrate that, they've promoted her to Admiral. Now her mission is to find the home base of the space pirates who are plaguing the fringes of the galaxy. But no mission is ever simple when your name is Longknife. And this time the complications range from the military to the personal, as Kris finds herself - reluctantly - having to make some command decisions about her future....

    Richard says: "Make Love (then war .... then some more love ...)"
    "Make Love (then war .... then some more love ...)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Overall a very good addition to the Kris Longknife saga, although the story periodically switches between something that feels like a Harlequin romance and something else that feels like a battle from Master and Commander. On the one hand, Kris and Jack finally get married and Mike Shepherd provides a fairly graphic description of their "honeymoon activities". Based on that alone, this story is decidedly not PG. On the other hand, the battles, particularly the last one, are exciting (in a much different way) but are described in a similar level of "high" detail. The story has some interesting and colorful cross references to events from the Jump Universe series although it is not at all necessary to have read that series for context It also has a satisfying ending while leaving strong hints about the next book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Defender: Foreigner Sequence 2, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By C. J. Cherryh
    • Narrated By Daniel Thomas May
    Overall
    (134)
    Performance
    (123)
    Story
    (124)

    The three-time Hugo Award-winning author continues her second trilogy in the "superior alien-contact series." (Kirkus Reviews) National best-selling author and winner of three Hugo Awards, C.J. Cherryh presents book two of her second Foreigner trilogy - the epic story of a single human delegate on a hostile alien planet. In this long-awaited sequel to Precursor, the alien atevi enter the treacherous politics of space travel-as their one human negotiator is caught in the throes of a mutiny.

    Pauline says: "A Comfortably Unique World"
    "Political Intrigue Abounds"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While the earlier books in this series provide stories that are a mix of politics, interpersonal relations, fighting and sci fi, this story is almost pure political intrigue. Coming into this story I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the various characters and what they were about. This book provides a good reminder that a reader should never get too comfortable. Bren is suddenly cut out of the loop by Tabini. The mutiny against Captain Ramirez may or may not have been what we thought it was. By the time this story had concluded I found myself wondering about Tabini, Jason, Sabin, and Captain Ramirez just to name a few. I have not listened to the next book in the series yet, but this one certainly seems to set things up nicely for C. J. Cherryh to blow things up again so she can put back the pieces in a new and clever way. You may as well buy the next book along with this one. There is no way to finish this one and not be compelled to found out what happens next!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • By Heresies Distressed: Safehold Series, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By David Weber
    • Narrated By Jason Culp
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (562)
    Performance
    (346)
    Story
    (349)

    Now the battle for the soul of the planet Safehold has begun.The Kingdom of Charis and the Kingdom of Chisholm have joined together, pledged to stand against the tyranny of a corrupt Church. The youthful Queen Sharleyan of Chisholm has wed King Cayleb of Charis, forging a single dynasty, a single empire, dedicated to the defense of human freedom.

    James says: "I want Oliver Wyman back"
    "Good Story But About Time to Move On"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a solid continuation of the story line revolving around Charis, Merlin and King Cayleb. It adds new depth to the characters that have already been introduced and picks up a couple of new ones that are moderately interesting. On the other hand, humanity has a long way to go before it gets back to the stars to confront the Gbaba. At the end of this book I was left with the feeling that the current portion story line was going to be dragging on for too long. I would have preferred to see this book wrap things up and set up a new aspect of the story. Unfortunately, that does not happen. While I am glad I spent the credits and I enjoyed the listen I will almost certainly pass on the next two books and wait to see if the story line moves on. As to the reader, while he was not bad I preferred Oliver Wyman's interpretation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    Overall
    (14305)
    Performance
    (10666)
    Story
    (10685)

    A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.

    Teddy says: "Did not disappoint..."
    "Meanwhile back at the ranch ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was an excellent continuation of Game of Thrones. One thing that takes some getting used to however is the way that the author moves between chapters. Just as a chapter reaches a climax it ends and the author moves on to a different part of the story. It was kind of like "she stood there with the sword poised above his neck. ... Meanwhile, back in the 100 acre woods ...". Nevertheless, the book was very well written and you can just feel the changes comming into the word as magic re-emerges and conflicts proliferate. I also very much enjoyed the way that the characters reveal their complex nature. For example, "The Hound" reveals an emotional side that I did not at all expect and by the end of the book Arya seems to be turning into an somewhat of an assasin. Book three here I come.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Wise Man's Fear: Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2

    • UNABRIDGED (42 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Patrick Rothfuss
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8414)
    Performance
    (6824)
    Story
    (6880)

    "My name is Kvothe. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep...."

    Joe says: "Excellent, Imaginative, Beautiful, Page Turning!!!"
    "Stories within Stories"
    Overall

    While many commentators felt that this book was too long, I did not. Much of the time was filled with sub-stories and stories where the story teller tells a story. I found most of these facsinating in their own right. I must admit that some editing could have been used in the latter parts of the book, but overall I still found myself drawn in and intrigued. Of course I am now even more worried about Kvoth and what will become of him, but that is just the sign of a good story!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Brian Greene
    • Narrated By Brian Greene
    Overall
    (721)
    Performance
    (378)
    Story
    (365)

    There was a time when “universe” meant all there is. Everything. Yet, in recent years discoveries in physics and cosmology have led a number of scientists to conclude that our universe may be one among many. With crystal-clear prose and inspired use of analogy, Brian Greene shows how a range of different “multiverse” proposals emerges from theories developed to explain the most refined observations of both subatomic particles and the dark depths of space.

    C. Schmidt says: "Engrossing"
    "Science or Religion?"
    Overall

    While the theories in this book are certainly interesting they are heavily based on conjecture and belief. Many times throughout the book the author starts his argument with "many scientists believe" or "the majority of scientists believe". While I give him kudos for at least starting off with this admission, it seemed to me that one set of beliefs were being built on another to develop theories that, while intriguing, are by their nature not likely to ever be provable or disprovable. To me, that is where the "science" becomes religion. I suppose that this is the source of my discomfort with the book. I enjoyed the discussion of the underlying science but the way it was presented made it seem that the author wanted the reader to accept as true, conclusions that are based on what amounts to a belief system. All in all this book did an excellent job in explaining the current thinking of some of our brightest scientists. On the other hand, it left me feeling that perhaps there is a line being crossed here that the author was not quite willing to admit it.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Accidental Mind: How Brain Evolution Has Given Us Love, Memory, Dreams, and God

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By David J. Linden
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    Overall
    (216)
    Performance
    (127)
    Story
    (125)

    You've probably seen it before: a human brain dramatically lit from the side, the camera circling it like a helicopter shot of Stonehenge, and a modulated baritone voice exalting the brain's elegant design in reverent tones... to which this book says: Pure nonsense.

    Francisco says: "Best general-public Brain Science book to date"
    "Does Not Make Its Case but Highly educational"
    Overall

    While some of the explanations of brain physiology seemed a bit more complex than necessary to build a foundation for later chapters, the book was still quite fascinating. No one should be fooled into thinking that this is light reading/listening though. The author gives about as deep of a treatment of the neuroscience behind subjects such as why we dream, how we form memories and why we fall in love as a college educated lay person can handle. On the other hand, the author's insistence that the brain is an inefficient kludge was not supported at any reasonable scientific level. For example, the comparisons of the speed of neuro-transmission to the speed of electrons over copper wire, and the focus on agglomeration of newer and ancient brain structures that have some overlap do not make the case for inefficiency. Nevertheless, this is not the focus of the book. Well worth the credit for anyone interested in understanding the science.

    15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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